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Romania & Bucharest – Travelwise Information

 

  1. Landing in Bucharest
  2. Airport Transfer to / from Bucharest
  3. Public Transport
  4. Train and Bus Stations
  5. “How to Get To?” from Bucharest
  6. Money, exchange rate and credit cards
  7. Tourist Information Center
  8. Safety and things to avoid
  9. Foreign Languages
  10. Electricity
  11. Internet
  12. Stray Dogs
  13. Left Luggage
  14. Tax Free Refund – for non – UE citizens
  15. Romanian Traditional Food

1. Landing in Bucharest

Bucharest International Airport – Henri Coandă – Otopeni, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km away from the center of Bucharest, opened in 1970 and extended in the last 10 years, is modern with direct connections to many European and international airports, with important commercial (Tarom – the Romanian national airline, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways etc.) and low cost (Blue Air – Romanian low cost carrier, Wizz Air, Ryan Air, Pegasus, Fly Dubai etc.) airlines, landing at Otopeni.

2. Airport Transfer to / from Bucharest

After you take your luggage, you can rent a car inside the airport, take a taxi, take the public transport to the center of Bucharest or wait for the hotel shuttle. Rent a car – there are international and local companies renting sedans or limousines or operating transfers from the airport to the hotel or elsewhere in Bucharest. There are more than 40 private taxi companies operating in Bucharest, and the average tariff is displayed on the car taxi doors. When you are inside the car and start to go to Bucharest, be aware that the counter is ON, otherwise when you arrive at the hotel, you can pay to the taxi driver more than double. We recommend you to avoid the “rapid taxis” waiting at the lower level and look for the fully automated (with multiple language options) touchscreens from the arrivals hall, where you can select your taxi and you will get a printed ticket from the touchscreen machines showing the taxi arrival time and the taxi ID number and company name. An average trip from airport to Bucharest cost around 46 lei (10 euro). There are also public transport buses connecting the airport with Bucharest city center: 783 line going to Piața Victoriei – Piața Romană – Piața Universițătii – Piata Unirii and 780 line going to Gara de Nord. They are operating every day, 24 hours according to a timetable and normally is one bus every 30 – 40 minutes. You need to purchase before boarding an Activ Card from the little kiosk at the exit. The card costs 3.7 lei (one way) plus the cost of the card and you can use it for the surface public transport (buses, trolley buses and trams) after you load it with electronic tickets.

780: Gara Basarab – Henri Coanda Airport
780: Henri Coanda Airport – Gara Basarab
783: Piata Unirii – Henri Coanda Airport
783: Henri Coanda Airport – Piata Unirii

3. Public Transport in Bucharest

Bucharest public transport is covering almost all the city as well as much of its surroundings. Tickets are cheap (1.3 lei per trip with the buses, trams and trolley buses) but the service is often poor and usually in the morning and in the evening most of the buses, trams and trolley buses are overcrowded. STB (buses, trams and trolley buses) program is starting at 4.30 A.M. and finish at 11.00 P.M. In the night time is the night public transport (less extensive than the daily transport) and all buses start from Piata Unirii. To travel with buses, trams and trolley buses you need to buy an active card before climbing inside. These cards costs 3.7 lei and can be bought and loaded with tickets from the little kiosks from the RATB stations. The card is debited for every trip in the moment when you validate it at the orange devices located on buses, trams and trolley buses. Children under the age of seven travel free, but after that age they need to pay a full price ticket. METRO was first opened in 1979 and was built to ship workers from the vast housing estates of the districts of Bucharest out to the huge factories located at the margins of Bucharest. Tickets for Metro trips can be purchased at the entrance in every Metro station (signalled with M). Tickets valid for 2 trips cost 5 lei, for 10 trips cost 20 lei and you can also buy a ticket for the whole day with 8 lei or for one week with 25 lei. The program for the Metro starts at 4.30. A.M. and the last train is usually at 11.00 P.M.

4. Train and Bus Stations

The main railway station from Bucharest is Gara de Nord where almost all trains (domestic and international) are stopping. Domestic trains in Romania are state owned (most of them belonging to SNCFR) but also there are private owned trains. In the last 20 years trains in Romania faced a tough competition from domestic buses who were more flexible, more faster and very often more cheap than trains. Tickets can be bought from the ticket offices from Gara de Nord and also online at least 24 hours in advance. If you buy tickets from Gara de Nord take care that sometimes the lines at the ticket offices can be long so do not leave buying a ticket to the last minute cause you can lose the train.

5. “How to Get To?” from Bucharest

6. Money, exchange rate and credit cards

The Romanian currency is the Leu divided into 100 bani. You can change a small amount of money at the exchange house in the airport, but the best exchange rate you can find at banks or exchange houses in Bucharest. MasterCard and VISA credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Romania, while American Express cards or other cards including Diner’s Club, are less widely accepted. The exchange rate is established daily by the National Bank of Romania.

7. Tourist Information Center

If you need information about what you can visit in Bucharest and Romania please contact us on email and whats’app. Also if you need maps or to book free tours and day tours in Bucharest and Romania, you can meet us in the heart of the Old Town in Bucharest.

8. Safety and things to avoid

Bucharest is one of the safest cities in Europe. Also Romania is a very safe country and violent crime is rare. Police is less corrupt and keeps a visual presence on the city streets especially in crowded areas. Pickpockets are a problem in Bucharest especially in crowded places and public transport (crowded buses or metro). You shall not keep money in backpacks or coat pockets and do not leave bags alone in public places. Taxis with special fares shall be avoided since they can charge you exorbitant fares. The average tariff is 1.39 lei/ km clearly displayed on the car doors, and before starting the trip, the taxi driver must start the meter. Beggars and unlicensed street vendors can approach you on the streets asking for money or trying to sell you all kind of perfumes, jewels, watches or cigarettes at bargain prices. Avoid them since their intentions are often completely different. Street food especially in the summer time shall be avoided since cakes, pies, sandwiches or other food kept in unhygienic conditions can cause you some troubles. Water – tap water is drinkable but most Romanians prefer bottled water.

9. Foreign Languages

Many Romanians and especially in Bucharest knows English. In Restaurants, Hotels or Shops but often also on streets you can ask people for the information you need and they will be happy to help you.

10. Electricity

Like in all Europe (with the exception of UK) electric devices run on 220 V. Other devices usually needs an adapting device and a transformer to work properly.

11. Internet

Internet in Bucharest and Romania is in the worldwide top 10. Almost all hotels have free wireless internet (sometimes you might need a password) but also in many other places like restaurants, museums, shopping malls if you use mobile phones or tablets you can easily get on the Internet. But to feel more “worldwide connected” you can buy a SIM Card from the mobile operator’s shops located almost in every street corner.

12. Stray Dogs

If you read in your travel guide about Romania that in Bucharest there is a problem with the stray dogs, you need to update the travel guide. Since 2014 when the municipality of Bucharest decided to create the so called “dog towns” nearby Bucharest, to sterilize all the existing dogs and to convince people to adopt a dog, the number of the stray dogs decreased from 65.000 down to maximum 4.000 today and even less. So today the stray dogs is a problem of the past, but if, by accident, you are bitten during your stay in Bucharest, you shall present yourself at once to the casualty unit (Camera de Gardă) at the Institutul Matei Balș, str. Calistrat Grozovici, nr. 1, tel. 021 318 60 90, where the wound will be cleaned up, and you will be administrated both an anti-tetanus and the first of the three anti-rabies jabs (the other two must be done 7 and 21 days after the first one) and you will receive a prescription for a treatment with antibiotics.

13. Left Luggage

If you are just crossing bucharest and have only several hours to visit the city there are left luggage lockers in some points in Bucharest. Some of them also have plugs where you can charge your phones. They usually cost from 5 lei for 3 hours to 10 lei for 10 hours.

14. Tax Free Refund – for non – UE citizens

Tax Free Shopping allows non-EU residents to get a VAT refund on goods they buy in Romania and take home to their country. This facility cannot be used for services purchased. VAT refund is available only in stores that are part of the Tax Free Romania network or are otherwise authorized to provide this service by the fiscal authorities. Look for the Tax Free sign! The stores that carry it provide this service through us. The value of the purchased goods must exceed 175 euros (including the value-added tax) for each purchase – that is, for each invoice. The store will provide you with a VAT refund form you will need to fill in with your contact details. It is essential to make sure you have filled in all the required information. Also, the store may provide you with a self-addressed envelope, which you may use to send the documents back to us to receive the refund. You must leave Romania within 90 days since the day of purchase.

15. Romanian Traditional Food.

Romanian Traditional Food is very tasty, most of it being made from pork meat, with more than 50 traditional dishes that can delight you.

Welcome to our travel tips page. Here you’ll find loads of useful info to help get you prepared before setting off your tip

Bucharest International Airport – Henri Coandă – Otopeni, located in Otopeni, 16.5 km away from the center of Bucharest, opened in 1970 and extended in the last 10 years, is modern with direct connections to many European and international airports, with important commercial (Tarom – the Romanian national airline, Air France, British Airways, KLM, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways etc.) and low cost (Blue Air – Romanian low cost carrier, Wizz Air, Ryan Air, Pegasus, Fly Dubai etc.) airlines, landing at Otopeni.

Make sure you apply for vacation days which include a day’s rest after your return to cope with fatigue or jet lag if you’re flying. Furthermore ensure all your travel documents are confirmed 3-4 working days before the travel date to ensure any last minute changes can still be accommodated.

As for packing, it is essential to pack what you need with consideration for the shopping you plan to do at your holiday destination. If you’re travelling with family and kids, ensure the needs of the elders and children are itemized and packed to avoid discomfort or tantrums.

Most importantly, it is vital to inform your close relatives/ friends of your travel. It would be good to arrange for house/ pet sitting while you’re away. Lastly, call your bank and let them know that you are travelling and there will be large amount of purchases with the debit or credit card.

You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while travelling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Latest updates on vaccinations can be obtained from your local clinic or hospital.

Please take note that visa requirements for certain countries may change from time to time. It is advisable that you check with your travel agent or directly with destination country’s Embassy or High Commission in Malaysia before booking a holiday.

What sort of protection/coverage does a travel insurance covers you? Some of the coverage that you should expect is as below:

  • Personal Accident
  • Medical Expenses
  • Loss of Luggage & Personal Effect
  • Loss of Travel Documents
  • Baggage Delay
  • Travel Delay
  • Missed Departure
  • Flight Overbooked
  • Hijack Inconvenience
  • Travel Cancellation
  • Loss of Money/ Valuables

….and other types of coverage as well.

Here are other examples that might NOT be covered in travel insurance:

  • Declared or undeclared war or any act of war, invasion, act of foreign enemy, and other war terms
  • Loss or destruction of goods due to radiation
  • Suicide/Self harm/ or any intentional acts by the insured person that provoked homicide or assault personnel or military personnel of any country or international authority, whether full-time service or as a volunteer
  • The Insured Person engaging in, practising for or taking part in training in any speed contest, any professional competition or sports, and participating in Hazardous adventure

For more information on the inclusions & exclusions of travel insurance coverage, contact your travel agent.

On your travel day, make a list of the things that you need to bring along- luggage, passport and tickets. Also, mark all your bags inside and out with your name and address – both home address and your holiday address. To be on the safe side, weigh your bags to ensure you don’t exceed the baggage requirements of the airline. Travel insurance is becoming a must, so do consider getting one because you do not have to worry if your bags are lost or if your flight has been cancelled or even if your passport and wallet is stolen. It is always best to get yourself and your family covered as mishaps do happen when travelling.

You do know that it is possible to travel with hand-luggage only, rite? Just that you will need to know the airline rules for carrying liquids, otherwise you may have to remove them at the security checkpoint! In order to handle jet lags, stay hydrated by drinking lots of plain water during the flight. Avoid tea and coffee.

Gather required documents before your flight as you are responsible to present as required, documents by the relevant authorities at all entry and exit lanes, health and other documents required by law, regulations, order, demands or requirements of the countries flown from, into or over.

Self-check-in is free, simple & quick! It will save your time at airport! Otherwise, counter check-in opens 3 hours before the scheduled time of departure and closes 1 hour before the scheduled time of departure. Note: Check-in deadlines may vary at different airports and for particular flights. Airport has long queues due to complex security checks. We suggest that you check-in early and proceed immediately to the departure gate or you may risk being left behind in security.

Pre-book your checked baggage to save money and time. Each piece/item of checked baggage has to weigh less than 30kg. Guests may not combine their checked baggage weight with other guests unless travelling in the same booking.

For, baggage drop counter, it opens 3 hours before the scheduled time of departure and closes 45 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. Guests are required to hold a boarding pass to use our baggage drop counters.

Bringing liquids are subject to the prevalent applicable local laws and regulations guests may take liquids on board in their cabin baggage with a maximum volume of 100 ml. The items must be placed in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag.

For boarding time, guests are required to be at the boarding gate at least 20 minutes before the scheduled time of departure or you will be denied boarding.

  • Ensure you have a reliable GPS system and location maps in the car. Sometimes, you can’t rely totally on GPS and the local location maps come in handy.
  • Pack enough liquids/water and snacks in the car as some stretches are long and do not have halfway stops.
  • Try to reach your destination before dark as most stretches are either forests or farms where street lights are minimal in the countryside.
  • Plan some games, pack short story books or sing along rhymes if you travel with kids.
  • Umbrellas are great in case there are light drizzles or rain.
  • Always ensure your tank is full and refill before it reaches quarter tank as it is not easy to find another petrol station nearby. You never know if you have gotten on the wrong track/trail or got lost.
  • Buy insurance coverage for the driver and passengers.

When you are overseas/ holiday destination, do call your close relatives/ friends to let them know you have arrived safely and keep them updated of where you are if you are moving around. Make sure to always keep your luggage locked when leaving them behind in the hotel. Carry your passport with you and ensure you don’t carry excessive cash that might attract attention. If you are taking a self drive holiday, make sure you collect the car from the airport and get a GPS.

When you are abroad and if you want to try something local, make sure it is a recommendation from a trustworthy source. To make life easier, get a local map and identify the tourist info centres. Moreover for safety precautions, avoid walking alone at night or in dark areas and beware of pickpockets whose modus operandi is by distracting you. Also, if you drive, follow the local traffic rules and avoid driving at night.

Before your return flight, do confirm your flight details in case of delays or cancellations. It is best to ensure that you have all travel documents prepared and easily accessible for check in. Always plan your packing and don’t do too much last minute shopping that can’t fit your luggage. Keep track with the luggage requirements of the country you’re visiting in mind.

Do not forget to remind your close relatives/ friends of your return and make arrangements for an airport pick up. Keep track of all your valuables and make sure that they are in your hand- wallet, passport, camera, watch, jewellery.

Last but not least, make sure you are at the airport two hours (or 3-4 hours in some countries) earlier to avoid missing the flight.